Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 - The Year of the Pro Snowboarder Action Doll

 
2012 is going to be the year of the pro snowboarder action figure. Until now only 6 snowboarders had been lucky enough to be immortalised in plastic for eternity, but this year there’s a deluge and another 16 lucky snowboarders will get their own Mini-Me’s.
Here’s a look at the runners and riders…

Huck Dolls
First let’s take a glimpse into history. Huck Dolls were the first company to start replicating snowboarders in miniature. They started off in 2001 and released a range of three snowboarders each honed out of a single chunk of bendable plastic. Unfortunately Huck Dolls appear to have been too early to hit the pro snowboarder collectables frenzy that we are experiencing today and they are no longer in business, but enough of the sad news let’s take a look at the lucky 3.
Ross Powers
Powers got his face stuck on a doll coming off the back of his 2002 Olympic halfpipe gold. 
Lookilikyness - 4/10: It looks more like Ross from Friends suffering from renal failure.
I don’t know what they cost at the time but they are now going for just a buck a pop in a bargain bin near you.
“Be the Doll” - Now that’s a tag line that would put anybody out of business.
Tara Dakides
Tara Dakides was also preserved for eternity in the year when she won the X Games Big Air and was voted the Female Snowboarder of the year by both Transworld and Snowboarder Magazine.
Lookilikyness – 2/10: She’s got arms like Bender from Futurama, hair like Shaun White and no face.
JP Walker
Coming of the back of some of the most successful snowboard films of the day, JP Walker and his jibbing skills were also honoured in rubber.
Lookilikyness – 9/10: Tricky to see because all we could find was this 2001-era internet sized photo, but despite all evidence to the contrary we’re sure this one was pretty much spot on.

FreestyleMax
After the demise of Huck Dolls one of the next crews into the mix were FreestyleMax. They started in 2005 and pitched themselves as a snowboard instructing aid. It’s a jointed action figure, it’s available now and it’s yours for $32. They’ve got just one pro snowboarder homage on their books… 
Mikkel Bang
The Norwegian Burton team rider and 2012 US Open Slopestyle winner seems like an odd hook-up with an Australian doll brand, but hey ho.
Lookilikyness – 6/10: It’s not a bad copy of Michelangelo’s David, not so good a copy of Bang.
Lookilikyness – Yes

Techrider
Mikkel Bang and Playboard arn't alone in their appreciation of snowboard dolls, apparently the whole Norwegian race love them. Techrider started out from there in 2007 with these squidgy fellas which you can buy for $39.99, and straight away they got into the pro snowboarder mimicry act with their interpretation of…
Terje Haakonsen
The famous Norwegian snowboard doll fan. 
Lookilikyness – 6/10: Even though it’s just the bottom of his face it’s not convincing. Terje is however a dead ringer of what Mark Zuckerberg will look like in 10 years’ time.
Here is the doll in action...
On the back of that success, and lacking any other Norwegian snowboarding legends to sign up, they then turned to another country that can't get enough of dolls and produced a…
Tadashi Fuse 
Lookilikyness – 7/10: It’s a great copy of the Terje doll though.
And now there’s no stopping them, they’re just about to go mental and launch a range of likenesses including…
The Helgasons, Mads Jonsson, Romain de Marchi, JP Solberg, Kazuhro Kokuo and man of the hour Travis Rice...
Lookilikyness – 2/10: It's crap, they’ve forgotten the helicopter.

Chuckbuddies
The last of the big snowboarder action figure makers is Chuckbuddies. They’ve been quietly growing since 2004, first in the UK, then across Europe, and this year their hitting the US big time. Unlike the other action figures they not dolls, they’re designed to be able to snowboard themselves, like thus...
In 2012 they are releasing their first promodels for $30 a pop and here are the lucky guys...
Terje Haakonsen (he’s all over action figurines like flies on shit), Jamie Lynn, Scotty Lago, Mathieu Crepel, Eero Ettala, Peetu Piiroinen, Chas Guldemond, Torstein Horgmo, and snowboarding legends Regis Rolland and Terry Kidwell.
Lookilikyness – 0/10: They haven’t even bothered. That's just colouring in.
So with that we’ve covered off the four different companies that have produced pro snowboarder action figures and it’s clear that getting a mini figure deal is pretty much the best indicator of when you’ve made the big time. There is of course one notable absence, and it’s weird that sponsor-whore Shaun White has somehow not wrangled himself an action doll yet. Luckily for him a few other people have taken it on themselves to fix the problem.

Shaun White
First up there’s this knitted number from a recent Shaun White convert. Apparently fluffy Shaun is in for a rough ride in the next few months as the maker has threatened that she “might have to perform surgery soon with a pipe cleaner…” 
Lookilikyness – 5/10: He really needs some pipe cleaner up him.
Here’s another Shaun fan-art doll. The image was left on this site two years ago with the following message, “SQUEE. For all those who love him, I finally made him~!” So far there have been no responses. 
Lookilikyness – 7/10: Shaun White the world's most famous King Charles spaniel.
The next Shaun White fan has taken doll production and picture watermarks to a whole other level. Hark, the "OMG it's [sic] SHAUN WHITE! Project". A lady called MzDEMO, or Diane to her friends, was looking at turning this toy design into a business, but despite some frantic web-promotion it appears the idea will never see the light of day, Here’s what the world is missing…
Lookilikyness – 6/10: The graphics are good, but the model looks like it was sculpted by Easter Islanders. Extra points for anticipating his recent foray into leggings.
Finally there’s this paper craft Shaun White. Produced by designer Tougui for Huck Magazine, its downloadable here. Feel free to make yourself one. 
Lookilikyness – 5/10: But fuck it, it’s free.
Oh yeah, then there’s this.
We popped this on the Facebook and Twitter the other day, but in reality it doesn’t exist, we just Photoshopped it. Sorry about that.
Lookilikyness – 11/10: Seeing as we're doing the judging here.

As weird as that has all been here’s a little more before we go. Two more famous snowboarders captured in miniature for posterity…

Tillman
The world’s most famous senowboarding dog gets his own plushdoll, a bargin at just $7.19 
Lookilikyness – 10/10: So cute, and you've got to respect a dog that snowboards wearing just a set of Speedos.

Sydney Steele
Nope, never heard of her either but apparently she’s a famous porn actress who’s debut performance involved being painted like a zebra. What better way for hopelessly single old men to celebrate this classy chick than through an undressable doll complete with an of context snowboard. 
Lookilikyness – ? Well I’m not going to check but if she looks anything like this I wouldn’t touch her with yours.

So there’s the biggest trend in snowboarding in 2012. It’s a bit strange that other than Tara Dakides no other women have been selected to be miniaturised apart from some random porn star. Maybe girl dolls just don't appeal to the core collecting demographics of, single men who have given up all hope of ever getting laid again, and Norwegians.


What do you think? Are you going to buy one of these and is there any pro snowboarder you think should make the list? 


--------UPDATE---------
Turns out, our normally faultless research has been flawed this week. News has reached us that there was another company called X-Toys who produced a range of 4 pro snowboarders back in 2000, making them the first to the party. Despite the name the X-Toys were unrelated to the Sydney Steele doll. Here's the line-up...

And here's who they are, but to be honest we didn't have a clue until we were told
Kevin Jones, Todd Richards (who's caught here selling out to Chuckbuddies), Jim Rippey & Barrett Christy
The X-Toys were apparently the most articulated 6" action figures ever made and they came complete with a backpack, goggles and an obstacle (rails or kicker)
Thanks to Neil 'Branny' Brannagan-Fuller for sending in the photos of the X-Toys and also hunting down the history.

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  1. whathappenedtohuckdollApril 29, 2013 at 9:34 AM

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